Parliamentary Secretary for Seniors Darryl Plecas today issued the following statement in recognition of World Elder Abuse Awareness Day (June 15):
“Seniors can offer wisdom and experience – they are willing to help, and it’s troubling that people prey on that kindness.
“These are our parents, grandparents, friends and neighbours. They helped build British Columbia and deserve to age with dignity.
“The stories make you angry.
“Some seniors have been taken advantage of financially – in some instances losing their life savings.
“There is psychological abuse through intimidation and threats.
“There are also heartbreaking cases of physical and sexual abuse and neglect.
“Sometimes it’s a stranger, more often it’s someone close.
“Elder abuse is unacceptable. It’s essential for all of us to be aware and take action. We all have a role in promoting a culture of respect and protecting the safety of seniors.
“Since 2012, the Ministry of Health has provided $4.7 million in funding to the B.C. Association of Community Response Networks, to raise awareness, prevent and respond to elder abuse, and to help them expand services throughout the province.
“The association supports networks of diverse community members – such as police, transition house staff and mental health and addiction services – who come together at the community level to create a co-ordinated response to abuse and offer support.
“It’s available in 133 B.C. communities and over 1,000 community organizations are connected to the network, with new communities continually being added.
“In addition to the work of the community response networks, in 2012-13, the Provincial Health Services Authority provided a grant of $850,000 to the BC Centre for Elder Advocacy and Support to expand the provincial Seniors Abuse and Information Line (SAIL). SAIL provides a safe way for seniors and those who care about them to obtain assistance, support, and information about elder abuse. The toll-free number is 1 866 437-1940, seven days a week, 8 a.m. to 8 p.m.
“Respect for seniors is something I was taught at a young age and World Elder Abuse Awareness Day is an opportunity to take that message to heart. Seniors deserve nothing less.”